Leadership skills are critical for any thriving business. From the meteoric rise of Apple to the disastrous fall of Enron, companies live or die by the intelligence, intuition, and integrity of their leaders.
Unfortunately, leadership skills can be exceptionally hard to gauge when hiring new talent. You may think you’ve landed the next Tim Cook, only to find it’s the next Kenneth Lay. Give a bad leader the keys to your organization, and before long you’ll end up like the Titanic: 12,500 feet under the sea.
Thankfully, it’s possible to gauge leadership ability before you hire. Use the pre-employment leadership skills assessment test below to screen new hires and find your next Ray Kroc or Sara Blakely. We’ve even included an answer key to help maximize results.
Test Your Job Candidates Now
Use the leadership test below to screen your candidates, or let The Hire Talent do it for you. We’ll screen for leadership skills — plus honesty, problem solving, interpersonal skills, and a host of other aptitudes — to predict job performance before you even say, “Have a seat.”
What Is a Leadership Test?
A leadership test is a psychometric assessment designed to measure general leadership ability in job candidates. From management skills to business acumen to teamwork, a leadership test arms you with the data you need to identify great leaders vs terrible ones — so you can hire with confidence.
Sample Leadership Skills Test
This sample leadership skills test was designed to help you identify and hire phenomenal leaders. Feel free to copy and paste it. Or — boost your odds of success by using The Hire Talent’s prepackaged online leadership test, delivery platform, and automatic reports to add even greater precision to your hiring practice.
1. A direct report comes to you and threatens to quit. What do you do?
- Beat them to the punch and tell them they’re fired.
- Sympathize with them, and tell them to go to HR.
- Ask them why they want to quit, then alert HR.
- Ask them why they want to quit, and listen to their reasons.
- Tell them your hands are tied and you can’t help.
Answer: D. Great leaders don’t make assumptions — they listen and learn. This leadership ability test question assesses whether a candidate would have the emotional intelligence to listen to their direct report and attempt to meet their needs.
2. Two of your team members have a heated disagreement during a meeting. How do you resolve it?
- Chastise both employees in front of the rest of the team.
- Make an example out of the two by reporting them to HR.
- Reach out to the two privately and work to resolve the issue.
- Wait and let them resolve their differences in due time.
- Put both employees on a performance improvement plan.
Answer: C. It can be tempting to call out conflict when you see it — but great leaders know this may only exacerbate the issue. This leadership skills test question assesses whether a candidate has the integrity, patience, and skill set to mediate team conflict.
3. Your team responds well to your management style, with the exception of one direct report. What should you do?
- Suggest that the person behave more like the other team members.
- Ask the person if they’d prefer to work under another manager.
- Warn the employee that they need to improve their performance.
- Continue on, and hope the direct report learns from the team.
- Tailor your management style to the person’s specific needs.
Answer: E. Leaders aren’t infallible, and great leaders recognize that their management style isn’t always for everyone. This leadership skills assessment question checks to see if a candidate would be open-minded with team members and adapt their leadership accordingly.
Pro Tip: The best leadership skills in the world will hurt your company if the leader is dishonest. The Hire Talent screens for multiple skill sets, including honesty. See our honesty test for employers.
4. Your company recently suffered a series of layoffs, but your team was unaffected. What’s the best course of action?
- Congratulate your team for making it through the layoff unscathed.
- Tell your team to use the layoff as a reason to work more effectively.
- Call an emergency team meeting to align on goals for the next quarter.
- Acknowledge the layoff and allow the team time to collect their thoughts.
- Warn your team they could be next if they don’t improve their output.
Answer: D. Great leaders are authentic. They know when to be strict, but also when to be compassionate. This leadership skills test question assesses whether a candidate would have the emotional intelligence to “read the room” and help team members navigate a difficult event.
5. A direct report tells you they’d like to work in a different part of the company. What do you do?
- Listen to their reasoning, and tell them you’ll think about it.
- Create a career development plan that will help them reach their goal.
- Tell them you can’t help them, but that they should ask HR.
- Warn your manager that your report may be unhappy in their role.
- Explain that you need their skill set and prefer they stay under you.
Answer: B. Lateral movement isn’t always possible in an organization, but a strong leader will work hard to make it happen. This leadership skills assessment question gauges whether a candidate would respect their employees enough to support their career goals.
6. You sense that your team is feeling disengaged. What’s the best way to improve the situation?
- Work with HR to give your employees an upcoming Friday off.
- Suggest that everyone come into the office for pizza and ice cream.
- Solicit anonymous feedback from the team, and act on the insights.
- Tell your employees how much the organization values their work.
- Reassess each employee’s workload so no one has too little or too much.
Answer: C. All of the above are effective ways to improve engagement, but only one aims to address exactly why people are disengaged. This leadership skills test question looks to answer how well a candidate can think critically in a leadership position to optimize team outcomes.
7. Your organization recently underwent a merger, and your team gained several new team members. What’s the first thing you’d do?
- Ask HR to onboard the new team members.
- Ask an existing team member to show the new members the ropes.
- Assign the new members a project to help them acclimate to the culture.
- Hold a team meeting so everyone can get to know the new members.
- Send an email detailing your expectations for the new members.
Answer: D. Onboarding isn’t the responsibility of HR alone. An effective leader recognizes the importance of giving new team members a warm welcome and ensuring they feel supported. This question assesses a candidate’s ability to adapt in times of change.
8. Your team failed to hit a quarterly sales goal, which could jeopardize the business’s earnings for the year. What’s your immediate response?
- Identify and fire your team’s lowest performers.
- Promise your leadership team that this will never happen again.
- Ask your leadership team to recalibrate expectations for the next quarter.
- Take time as a team to identify improvement points and develop a plan of action.
- Tell your team you’re disappointed in them and that low performance isn’t tolerated.
Answer: D. Every team experiences setbacks. But — what differentiates great teams from good ones is how they learn from failures. This leadership skills assessment question gauges whether a candidate knows how to hold people accountable to their goals.
9. An employee tells you they’re being harassed by a coworker. What’s your best course of action?
- Thank them for coming forward, then follow your HR team’s policy for harassment.
- Offer to mediate the issue yourself, and reach out to the harasser.
- Ask the employee if they were really harassed, or if perhaps they’re mistaken.
- Suggest that the employee wait and see if the situation improves.
- Tell the employee they and their co-worker must solve the issue on their own.
Answer: A. It’s crucial to know what’s in your control as a leader, and when to raise your hand for help. In cases of harassment, it’s important to abide by HR policies. If not, you risk making things worse. This leadership skills test question gauges whether a candidate can properly escalate HR issues.
10. An individual contributor outside your team tells you they have aspirations to be a manager. How do you respond?
- Suggest they reach out to their manager to set up a development meeting.
- Offer to share your own managerial experiences with them over lunch.
- Tell them it’s not within your purview to give career development advice.
- Ask them to prepare a slide deck explaining why they’d be a good manager.
- Warn them that management isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Answer: B. An effective leader understands the value of learning — and truly great leaders are willing to pay that learning forward. This leadership skills quiz question assesses whether a candidate has the aptitude to coach and mentor others, even if they’re not a direct report.
Assess your job candidates now — automatically — for leadership skills. Find the best leaders in your applicant pool, and never make another bad hire.
How to Test Applicants for Leadership Skills
Use a rigorously researched leadership skills test, with questions tested against a large pool of job candidates, for testing leadership skills. It’s also vital to deliver the test from an easy-to-manage platform, with a fast, reliable grading system that delivers results in an easy-to-parse, secure way.
Here are four ways to ensure success:
1. Use a reliable set of leadership test questions and answers
Testing leadership ability won’t get you far if the questions you’re asking aren’t validated for hiring. The Hire Talent’s leadership skills assessment has been tested to be a reliable predictor of job success. Better yet, these questions are designed to help you reduce bias and make more objective hiring decisions.
2. Use a test that’s intuitive and easy to use
Even with a reliable set of questions, if the leadership skills test itself is cumbersome or confusing, your applicants will bounce. Make sure your test-taking technology is up to date. The more you invest in the user experience, the easier it will be to identify top applicants.
3. Make applicant privacy a priority
In a world dominated by social media and data algorithms, job candidates respect companies that respect their privacy. Administering the test and safeguarding answers from a secure server will pave the way for a more attractive candidate experience.
4. Score candidates fairly
“Leadership” means something different to each recruiter. To find the best leaders in a pile of resumes, you must align on the leadership traits that matter to your organization. Equipping every member of your hiring team with a standardized grading rubric will cut down on personal bias and find the best fit for the job.
Pro Tip: The best leaders have exceptional problem solving skills. Use our problem solving skills test to know before you hire.
How We Created Our Leadership Skills Test
Great pre-employment leadership skills tests aren’t created overnight — they’re built with scientific foresight and rigor. Partner with The Hire Talent for your leadership skills assessment, and you’ll streamline your hiring process, improve your candidate experience, and look like the next Apple or Berkshire Hathaway to your applicants.
The Hire Talent developed its leadership skills test by administering a long list of science-backed questions to a large sample to verify validity. The team conducted thorough statistical analyses, further refining the question roster based on those results. The end product is a leadership skills test designed to reduce bias and ensure objective, accurate hires.
Benefits of Online Leadership Skills Testing
Research shows that effective leadership is a direct driver of organizational profit. By employing online leadership skills testing, you’ll take advantage of a wide array of benefits that’ll help you find the next Bill Gates or Jack Dorsey — and catapult your business to success.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of online leadership skills testing:
- Screen out unqualified candidates: Bad leadership is infectious. Hire one unqualified leader, and it can lead to a thousand. By testing for leadership, you avoid that scenario entirely.
- Identify high performers: The sooner you find amazing leaders, the sooner you can place them in roles that launch your business to new heights.
- Use for a range of jobs: A leadership skills assessment can apply to a wide variety of job roles. No matter your hiring needs, you can find a candidate who’ll make a difference in your organization from day one.
- Remove bias during interviews: Leadership can be hard to gauge based on gut feeling alone. A leadership skills test can remove bias from the equation.
- Predict job performance: Leadership acumen is one of the most important parts of career growth. By recruiting better leaders for your company, you can create a culture of high performance.
- Inexpensive: Leadership skills assessments aren’t just accurate — they’re cost-effective and easy to scale. It’s a small investment that’ll yield dividends for your bottom line.
- Easy to administer, take, and see results: The Hire Talent’s assessments can be embedded directly within your existing process, so your hiring team doesn’t miss a beat.
- Decrease time to hire: Pre-employment assessments help you reduce the need for time-consuming phone screens, which can dramatically accelerate your time to hire.
- Increase retention: By screening for natural-born leaders, you ensure the people you hire are built to last.
- Lower hiring costs: Mishires can lose you tens of thousands in recruiting and training costs. The more accurate your hiring measures, the lower your hiring costs.
Pro Tip: A leader with poor interpersonal skills can drive good employees away and damage your team’s effectiveness. Our interpersonal skills test can help you avoid them.
Why Are Leadership Skills Important in the Workplace?
Leadership skills are important because they dictate the success or failure of your organization. Put the right leader in charge, and you’ll ensure your business can vie with the most innovative competitors. Put a lousy leader at the helm, and you risk falling to the bottom of the food chain.
What Roles Need Leadership Skills Tests?
Practically every job in existence can benefit from leadership skills. Can you imagine a role that didn’t ask you to run point on a task, project, or team? It’d be called “not working.” But some roles are more critical than others. Imagine hiring Brennan and Dale to co-pilot an airplane.
Leadership skills are particularly applicable to senior roles where effective management is a must. Picture your frontline managers, supervisors, and shift leads — roles that dictate success or failure for entire operations. The more senior the role, the more integral leadership acumen becomes. Other key leadership roles include Directors, VPs, SVPs, EVPs, and members of the C-Suite.
Companies rise and fall by their leaders. With the right leader, you mobilize your people to take on anything. Suffer a mishire, however, and you torpedo your odds of success. By investing in a science-backed leadership skills test, you’ll ensure the candidates you hire are confident, competent all-stars.